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Deported of Indochina: "We Are Forgotten Ones of History"

インドシナにおける強制送還:「我々は歴史から忘れさられている」

Jérôme Jadot, Cécile Mimaut - www.franceinfo.fr "Les déportés oubliés d'Indochine" (21-04-2016)

今年4月、週末。のんびり朝食をとりながらラジオ(フランス・アンフォ)を聞いていたら、涙にむせびながら話す男性の声が耳に飛びこんできた。あんな風につらそうに高齢の男性が泣くのを耳にするのは、祖父が若い頃に(曽祖父の破産が原因で)苦労したといって泣いたとき以来である。

これは訳さなくてはいけないと思い、フランス・アンフォに一応許可を得ようと連絡したところ、約1ヵ月後に許可をいただいた。(こちらが忘れていることでも、欧州人は忘れていない!)できるだけ多くの日本人に、読んでいただきたい。

4月21日 2016年 ジェローム・ジャド(国営ラジオ フランス・アンフォ)
今週日曜日の強制送還記念日は、ナチスによる強制収容所の犠牲者への追悼と尊敬の意を表する。だがその日は、我々があまり耳にすることのない、第二次大戦中に強制送還されたその他の犠牲者たちを含むものではない。1945年3月~9月の間、15,000人のフランス人はインドシナの日本収容所に収監されていた。

キャンプの生存者のインタビュー。

。。。下につづく

Language, identity and global necessities

Language is a cultural, political and economic tool, and English has shown great success in this domain. The spread of English internationally has been aided and abetted by the advancement in technology, forging of international organisations, and bare economic and political necessities. On the other hand, languages have been (and can be) taken over by one which is spoken by those from an economically, politically and socially dominant nation.

People who speak English as a second language do so because either they want or are obliged to (it is imposed from the outside). These days, they represent more than two-thirds of English speakers in the world, and the distinction between native and non-native speakers is not that significant anymore.

In the Philippines, for example, English is used in government, private and public dealings. Although Tagalog is the official language, English is the medium of instruction in schools and universities and is used lavishly in the mass media. This country was a Spanish colony for more than 300 years; however, it's the Americans who have had the recent influence on its culture. Its proximity to Australia - another native English speaking country - has been a convenience. In the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines has the largest population of English-speaking inhabitants (over 102 millions).

The majority of this year’s Eurovision songs were in English. Even the winning title by Jamala of Ukraine has more English than Tatar words. For the first time, Spain's entry was also in English which aroused criticisms from its Royal Academy of Spanish Language (RAE), the official body that oversees language use. The French entry was also mainly performed in English. (In Eurovision's earlier days, contests were dominated by francophone nations - e.g. France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg & Monaco - and by entries in French). These days, contestants believe that English gives them a better chance to win because it is more widely understood than other languages; as well, successful songs have English lyrics.

The words in our language

“How was your staycation?” my student asked her colleague.

“It was relaxing,” he answered.

Another young woman sitting next to him raised her hand. “What did you say? What was it?” “stey-key-shun?” He replied, “Ah.. you were not with us last year. Staycation means vacation spent at home doing something you enjoy. In the beginning, I also thought it sounded funny.”

Then he added, “holiday in UK and vacation in US English.”

I couldn’t help smiling and was glad that my student remembered something from our previous course. Languages evolve, appear and disappear to adapt and cater to the changing needs and developments (e.g. technology) in our society. Often, new words are created by: 1) putting together letters from 2 different words (e.g. ‘Brexit’ – British/Britain’s exit from the European Union. There’s a referendum on this issue in June 2016); 2) shortening words (e.g. company representative = company rep); 3) borrowing from other languages (e.g. French ‘chef’ – cook); and 4) even from mistakes or words of celebrities (e.g. Gwyneth Paltrow’s conscious uncoupling which describes divorcing or separating couple who find the source of unhappiness in themselves and refrain from blaming each other).

日本礼賛 と 星の王子様のうぬぼれ男(2)

This is again about my English essay Superb Japan!?
mizohata.org - Superb Japan!? ― 日本礼賛の幻想

In my Japanese blog (1), I write on Japan’s recent self-praise claims in connection with the conceited man in The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry, though of course I did not mention it in my English essay. That’s why you see the cute Little Prince.


Credits: Le Petit Prince Collection by AmiAmaLilium on DeviantArt
under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License

日本礼賛 と 星の王子様のうぬぼれ男(2)

先週のブログで、大事な点がもうひとつぬけてました(他にもありますが)。うっぷす。

日本礼賛は、日本の美点を誇りほめたたえる政治宣伝です。

日本礼賛を見聞きしているうちに、われわれはこんなにも優れた民族なんだという気になるのでしょうね。でも、その有能感の深層にあるのは、優劣重視や差別意識に基づいた世界観ではないでしょうか。

愛国心や戦意高揚をねらった称賛扇動と軍国主義は、密接なつながりがあることは述べました。(英文エッセイには、もちろん「星の王子様」は登場しません)過去にはアジアの「指導民族」であるという優越心が、自国の来し方や侵略戦争を善なるものとして正当化したわけです。
mizohata.org - Superb Japan!? ― 日本礼賛の幻想

敗戦により、日本人のおごりや陶酔感はものの見事に叩きつぶされます。

ですが戦後すぐに、日本のうぬぼれや虚栄心を目ざとく見てとったのが、ジョン・フォスター・ダレスでした。そう、「望むだけの軍隊を、望むだけの場所に、望む期間駐留させる」と発言したことでも知られるアメリカの政治家です。

。。。下につづく

日本礼賛 と 星の王子様のうぬぼれ男

I have just started my own site www.mizohata.org and posted my English essay. Please visit the site!

日本礼賛 と 星の王子様のうぬぼれ男(1)

「日本すごい!」本が、ブームなんだそうですが。 まず芥川賞作家のツッコミを、読んでみてください。


このごろ私が、「気色わるゥ」

と思ったこと、二つ三つ。       (中略)

しかし「日本人上等論」を読んで(それみい、やっぱりや)などとにんまりしてるとえらい目にあう。日本人をほめられてワルイ気はしないところが、要注意のこわさ、気色わるさである。戦争おっぱじめる、軍隊を組織して軍備を強化する、ということをもくろむ手合いはまず、国民の士気と民族意識をたかめ、(それみい・・・・・)という優越感を植えつけようとする。気色わるゥ。

田辺聖子「気色わるゥ」

女の口髭 文春文庫 1987年 116~118頁

。。。下につづく

Not always whiter and greener

My friend’s daughter always complains about the heat in Brisbane and has said to me how she would love to live in cold Europe. She doesn’t like her air-conditioned car and looks forward to skiing. My Belgian acquaintances find winter miserable and think it is a paradise to use the outdoor swimming pool and visit the nearby beach any time you feel like it.

A former neighbour recently confided to me about unmet expectations in her new job. She described in detail her uneasiness working with native-English speakers (she’s French) which, ironically, was one of the main reasons why she left the Francophone working environment (i.e. she wanted to improve her English by speaking it every day).

When I visit Singapore or Philippines, I observe smilingly women snuggling under their umbrellas not necessarily to prevent from having skin cancer but to avoid getting browner/darker. In western countries, however, men and women spend a lot of time and money trying to get tanned as it is considered good and healthy looking.

Consumption of dietary and vitamin supplements is cultural

Getting into a chemist (Oceania and the UK)/pharmacy (US) in Australia, you notice immediately the wide range of dietary and vitamin supplements occupying almost a third of the store. There are a variety of choices from A to Z of brands locally and internationally. But, in France and Luxembourg this is not the case. Often, you have to ask the staff for common vitamin supplements, such as Omega 3 and grape seed tablets, which are stocked between beauty products and medicines. In developing countries of Asia, Africa and Central & South America, these are highly unaffordable for most people. Surprisingly, however, the Nielsen study showed that Asians (and North Americans) lead the world in the usage of dietary and vitamin supplements with the highest levels found in the Philippines and Thailand (66% compared to 56% in the USA). Europe (30%) and Latin America (28%) had the lowest intake (France and Spain at the bottom: 17% and 13% respectively). The respondents' main reason for not taking vitamins was that "their diets were already balanced while those in Poland, Russia and the Baltic states felt that "it is too difficult to understand which product to use." (''North-America, Asia lead vitamin and supplement usage'').

It is known that, generally, Europeans have poor vitamin D. A comparative study of eating habits and calcium & vitamin D intakes in Central-Eastern European countries conducted by the Faculty of Health Sciences in Semmelweis University, Hungary headed by Dr. Katalin Tátrai-Nèmeth concluded that the highest calcium intake was in the Hungarian population while the lowest in Slovenia, and vitamin D intake was critically low in both of these countries. (''A comparative study of eating habits calcium and vitamin D intakes in the population'').

「敗北を抱きしめて」(Embracing Defeat)雑感

This blog is about my thoughts on John W. Dower’s book Embracing Defeat in Japanese. Several years ago, I read the conclusion chapter only (yes, shame on me). I thought that we Japanese already know this stuff, so the book had been sitting on my bookshelf for years.

But somehow I thought of this book and started reading it. And, once I started reading, I could not stop… and I kept murmuring to myself or growling “Omoshiroiiiii (interesting).” It was an immense pleasure to read.

Contrary to the lyrics of the Southern All Stars (the school textbooks run out of time before getting that part), the book starts with “the part we most want to know.”

It is said that Japan has changed remarkably for the last seven decades. Yet, seemingly there are so many things unchanged: low status of women, their legal and social oppression, poverty, younger women’s resorting to sex work, the gap between the rich and the poor, the inept government, and the like.

I find the chapters on politics most fascinating. Also, I like the chapters on how the image campaign successfully transformed the emperor of war responsibility into an almost saintly figure.

When I started school, the emperor was already a transformed character. But, as a child, I could sense his discomfort: something painfully awkward, stolid, and severe. (Although kids do not have a wide vocabulary, we could feel and judge things.) I was intrigued by his past and character (e.g. what happened to him?). Perhaps, that was the part that even the successful campaign could not change. And, the book provides us some important answers to “the part we most want to know” in our history.

「敗北を抱きしめて」(Embracing Defeat)雑感

ジョン・ダワー先生のベストセラーは、後半をすこしひろい読みしただけで長らく書架においたままだった。浅草の女性ストリーッパーの写真や雑誌の図説を見て、俗っぽい内容の本なのかと勘違いして本を開かずにいた。

昨年成立した戦争法について考えていたとき、この本にあてどなく手がのびて13章から終章までじっくり読みおえた。あまりにおもしろくて序章にもどった。どうして読まずにいたのだろう・・・。

言葉(英単語)ひとつにしても、惜しげもないゆたかな語彙も表現も、話の展開も、限りなくおもしろい。おかしみは尽きず、つい読み急ぐのだけども、一気に読むのはもったいないような、底ふかい愉悦感。「おもしろォーい」と何度もうなりながら読んだ。

ダワーを読まずして、なんとしよう。

全体にただよう文学的な風合いには、星屑を散らしたように、ラテン語が(フランス語も)使われていた。なるほど目でも愉しめるように、四字熟語のように効果的に視覚に訴えてくるのがわかる。英文にも「眼福」ってあるのだなと知らさせた。

。。。下につづく

Leap year, Valentine's day and more

I hope that 2016 has started very well for you. Definitely, it has for me: I am spoilt being in Queensland (the third largest state in Australia) with its weather suited to outside entertainment and activities (e.g. only a sliding door and a compulsory gate separate our living area from the swimming pool).

January 26 was Australia Day and there were fantastic celebrations with fireworks and musical shows all over the country. While working for Multicultural Affairs Queensland (formerly Bureau of Ethnic Affairs), we had fun coming up with definitions of an Australian; and my updated version is something like this:

Being Australian is driving a Japanese car (most likely a Toyota or Mazda) to an Irish pub to drink a Belgian beer; then on the way home grab an Indian takeaway or have Yum Cha at a Chinese restaurant; at home sits on a Swedish furniture watching an American TV program or film on a German TV while texting or Facebooking in a gadget with components from Malaysia or Philippines.

The year 2016 should be better

I'm writing this from sunny Brisbane in Australia. I'm so delighted to be with family and friends, especially that I didn't see them for five years. Being a family addict and social connoisseur, every day is spent dining together, playing board games and sports, visiting places or simply lazing around talking to each other. Giving and receiving are also a habit. Fortunately, I received only useful presents last Christmas. However, even if I had unwanted gifts, I would have turned these into needed and appreciated possessions. In fact, even when I don't like my gift, I never return it. Of course you can do this if there's a receipt (but never ask for it) and exchange it for something that you really like.

In the past, I did regift expensive wine and champagne bottles (I don't drink alcohol). Sometimes, I had presents that stayed in my wardrobe for a year or so waiting for the right person and occasion. Since I have a fairly good memory when it comes to people and their kindness, I always remember who has given me what. However, one day when my memory starts to dwindle, I will record my unwanted presents so that I won't offer these embarrassingly to the original givers.

As well, I am good at reusing presents, e.g. my current make up porcelain holder was actually given to me as a jewellery box.

Barbara Young, one of my role models and former work supervisors, donates unwanted gifts to charities (e.g. Save the Children Fund) and those less fortunate. About 8 years ago, I helped her get rid of unused belongings in a garage sale.

Perhaps one day I will organise a swapping party for unused/unwanted Christmas (or birthday) presents.

The year 2015 was enlightening and productive for me, however, global events (several of which I had mentioned in my previous articles) saddened me. Currently, what worries me more is that our world continues to be riddled with mutual distrust and division, conflicts and terrorism. What can we do about these – antidotes and answers?

うちの息子はロボット

私の留守中に、侵入者がうちに住みこんでいた。

掃除ロボットのルンバで、その名をトビー (Tobi) という。夫は彼のパパだと認知している。私としちゃ、ロボットを子にしたおぼえはない。

トビーの日本語名は鳶(鳶職のトビ)と書く。しかしトビー君、高い所は苦手らしい。が、高度や段差がわかるらしく、テーブルの上で操作しても用心深く、落ちたりしない。

「こんなモノ」とくくっていたら。トビーに、かなり助けられている。

トビー君。今日はここからはじめようとか、それなりの予定があるらしい。ある日、突然、動きだしたのでびっくりしてたら、実は時間設定されていた。出動のたびにアチコチに体当たりし、グォーゥンと頭をぶつける。不思議に近眼。だが私の足元には、触れるか触れないかのぎりぎりの優しさの気配で近づいてくる。部屋の入り口で障害物にぶつかると、ツッーとそのまま逆もどりする。狭いところに入りこむと、いつまでも堂々めぐりするのかと思いきや、こけつまろびつ自力で突破口を見つけてくる。

。。。下につづく

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